Wednesday, January 16, 2013
It’s getting increasingly difficult to mine comedy from cable series, when so many already seem like parodies. The new series “Ghost Mine” (9 p.m., Syfy) is a perfect example.
Set in the old gold-mining community of Sumpter, Ore., “Ghost” follows the efforts to revive the Crescent Mine, abandoned more than 80 years ago. Folks didn’t give up on it because its precious ore was exhausted. Its reputation for supernatural activity made it too frightening to explore.
The first 20 minutes of “Ghost Mine” unfold like any number of gold-mining shows already on cable. We meet a gaggle of hardscrabble guys seemingly allergic to bathing and shaving. They sport nicknames like Papa Smurf, Fast Eddie, Greybeard, Dingus and Greenhorn. While you’d think a task as arduous as mining would be a young man’s game, this crew has the median age of an AARP convention. They also look like they were taken from central casting for an ancient TV Western. And as such, they’re not without some entertainment value. There’s even a colorful camp cook like the one who used to be on “Wagon Train.”
As if scripted, one of the grizzled guys describes a long-held superstition against women, particularly redheaded women, entering a mine. Enter Kristen Luman, professional paranormal detective, and her partner, Patrick Doyle. Both are what the British might call “ginger.”
Suddenly, the thrill of exploration and quick riches gives way to the dreary mechanics of ghost hunting. Luman and Doyle unpack their expensive equipment and spew nonsensical jargon. They wear night vision goggles and appear in ghostly, green-tinged black and white. They shout, “Did you hear that?” quite often, followed by expressions of terror and sudden flight. That noise they heard was probably the sound of intelligent viewers reaching for their remotes.
Tonight’s other highlights:
• The kids each get a day to themselves on “The Middle” (7 p.m., ABC).
• Oliver takes a sabbatical on “Arrow” (7 p.m., CW).
• A surprise party for Manny on “Modern Family” (8 p.m., ABC).
• Juliette and Rayna share an arena stage on “Nashville” (9 p.m., ABC).
• A new inmate upsets everyone on “American Horror Story: Asylum” (9 p.m., FX).